Experience the power of storytelling and unlock your own hero's journey with Jim!
"You will be forgotten to a certain degree unless you learn to share your own stories, because it's the stories that draw people in and help them remember you." -Jim Schubert
Jim Schubert is an experienced entrepreneur and podcaster, having built several companies to great heights and recently hitting 70,000 downloads for his podcast, Second In Command. He is currently writing a book about the secret formula to being a highly influential storyteller.
Jim Schubert’s mother was a flight attendant for Delta, so he spent a lot of time with his dad growing up. His father's family had fled from Germany, and when the Berlin Wall fell, Jim got to play a part of history and help tear it down. This experience helped Jim understand the power of storytelling and influenced him to write a book on the subject. He encourages people to use his spreadsheet to brainstorm stories and to remember that when crafting a story, it is always the audience who is the hero. He also encourages people to find him on LinkedIn to have genuine conversations.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. How did Jim Schubert discover the secret formula to being a highly influential storyteller?
2. How can storytelling help salespeople build deep relationships with their clients?
3. What is the process for uncovering hundreds of stories from one's own life?
Jim Schubert is the owner of Southern States Insurance, Swift Premium Finance and Schubert Photography. He's also the host of the Agents Growth Academy podcast where he teaches insurance agents and agency owners how to create their vision, captivate their audience, and communicate with clarity so they can build the business and life they desire.
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Transcription Tyler Tapp 00:00:05 Welcome , my friends . The second in command , podcast . Today, we've got Jim Schubertt on and we'll talk a little bit more with him. So, Jim, welcome . Say welcome to everybody real quick . Jim Schubert 00:00:14 Welcome everybody . Tyler Tapp 00:00:15 Yeah, exactly . That's great . Welcome , Jim. I guess we can start it like my brother Josh, you guys listen to his podcast , probably the Lucky Titan podcast . He's was like, what's up, everybody ? That's his classic . Jim Schubert 00:00:27 You sound just like him. Tyler Tapp 00:00:31 So we are going to be talking about organizing the chaos . So my plan with that for all of you guys is knowing that every business is chaotic . We all know that . But the less chaotic it is, the more successful you end up being . So Jim has built several different companies up to different great heights . So one of them being Southern states insurance . Jim, that's your biggest one, correct ? Jim Schubert 00:00:53 Yes. The legacy business . Tyler Tapp 00:00:56 Yeah just got southern States insurance is another one. Swift premium finance and then Schubert photography . And then on top of that , Agent's Growth Academy, which is a side business . Right? You're a podcast . Jim Schubert 00:01:08 It is. Which you guys do a really good job producing . And I very much appreciate that . Tyler Tapp 00:01:14 Well, thanks , we appreciate that . You can blow smoke as much as you want . I'll blush as much as you can for Brian. So just a little bit about Jim, about his podcast , I hope with this show, with the Second In Command show to promote lots of other podcasts through this . Jim, I think you're like, what , 70, 80 episodes into your podcast ? Jim Schubert 00:01:36 Yeah, we just hit 70 a couple of weeks ago and I think we're at like 70,000 downloads , thanks to you guys . Tyler Tapp 00:01:43 Go team, go. Jim Schubert 00:01:44 Yeah, it's been unbelievable . And just to give you some context , when I started a podcast about seven years ago, I got 17 episodes in and then I quit because it was just way too much time taken having to get all the show notes prepared and do all the social media post and get everything scheduled and communicate with the guests . And I was taking over my father's insurance agency at that time . I just said, I don't have enough time to do all this stuff . So I hated to do it, but I quit . So I was so glad I found you guys when I was ready to start again. Tyler Tapp 00:02:25 Yeah, it's funny, that tends to be the tale of a lot of people on their podcast , right ? It's like, hey, I started it and then I got one to 20 episodes in, and then it just because it's not easy, for sure. So we'll go with this . We appreciate the promotion there . We do a good job, we do the best we can, and we help you take care of that chaos , right . Because doing podcast is a chaotic thing if you don't know what you're doing . Jim Schubert 00:02:47 Absolutely , yeah. Tyler Tapp 00:02:49 Perfect . Well, Jim, I was hoping , honestly today, if something you emailed me about or told me before and I've heard you talk about many times , it's just using storytelling to do everything . So I want to hear your story . Actually , Honest Jim and I've talked with you plenty of times . I've heard your story secondhand a lot of times through your podcast , but I want to hear from you. How did you learn the storytelling was so important ? By living your story . Jim Schubert 00:03:14 Yeah, I think a lot of it for me just goes back to growing up. My mother was a flight attendant from Delta, so she was gone a lot of weekends , which put me with my dad sitting either at a tennis court watching him play tennis , or he and I would go watch a lot of movies together . And I just remember thinking , like, man, this is like you really let your guard down . You become all consumed . And when you leave the theater , I mean, especially as a kid, you think you're Luke Skywalker, right ? You think you're whoever it is. And then I actually found myself in a real life story when I was about twelve years old. I was standing at a wall outside , freezing cold , in about November time , and a brand new bomber jacket my parents had just given me. And I heard all these people around me different , you know, languages that I wasn't used to. It was because I was standing in front of the Berlin Wall. We had flown there about two weeks after it came down . Because my mom was a flight attendant , we were able to get to the wall that quickly . And I got to play a little part of history , which is kind of cool to be able to help tear it down . And the reason that kind of sits with me still today is because my father's family comes directly from Germany. So his father was the first born in America , and his family fled because of what was going on at the time in Germany. So it was kind of full circle , and I didn't realize it at that . Tyler Tapp 00:04 :55 Moment when I what , twelve year old notices that ? Jim Schubert 00:04 :58 Yeah. No, it certainly didn't notice that . Right. I had a hammer and chisel in my hand, and I was just like, I get to destroy something . Right. But looking back on it and thinking through that over the years really made me think , wow, when I was in those movies or watching the movies , I wanted to be the hero. And like we all do, right ? Tyler Tapp 00:05:21 Yeah. Jim Schubert 00:05:21 And then there I was, getting to play a little bit of the hero's part in my own family's history , to be able to break something down that really stood for something that was pretty impactful . Fast forward to today. The reason that I've gravitated to storytelling and teaching people , I'm currently writing a book about it right now. Tyler Tapp 00:05:47 Okay. Jim Schubert 00:05:48 We've got a couple of John's in our organization , Jon and John, and they are both million dollar producers , meaning they have a book of business that is generating a million dollars in revenue for the agency and then a lot of that goes to them too. So they're doing pretty well. Tyler Tapp 00:06:08 Yeah, they're doing all right . Jim Schubert 00:06:09 Yeah. And so I took a step back and I was like, what is it about these guys? I mean, I have other producers in my insurance agency and they're not trying . Right. They're good producers in their own right . But John and John are at the top of the leaderboard . Every single month they win our agency's incentive trip . We go to the Caribbean , we go to Mexico for 14 out of the last 15 years running , they both want every single year. What are these guys doing that's different . Tyler Tapp 00:06:41 For 2 seconds , Jim on this . Jim Schubert 00:06:43 Yeah, sure. Tyler Tapp 00:06:43 A lot of people may not know an insurance , like what's a big book or not . So what's the average book for someone ? Jim Schubert 00:06:50 Yeah, so I mean, a lot of producers are trying to just get to a half a million in revenue because I think industry wide average probably going to get paid about 40 % to 50% on that . So a couple of hundred thousand dollars if you're doing really well, but obviously if you're in the million range, you're doing mighty fine . Tyler Tapp 00:07:10 Much better . Jim Schubert 00:07:11 Yeah, so good question . Tyler Tapp 00:07:13 I appreciate that . That was a good clarification . Jim Schubert 00:07:14 Yeah, good question . So when I took a step back and I thought about it, I was like, these guys are hands down the best storytellers I know. And you talk about taming the chaos . These guys are able to take what can be a very chaotic process , which is sales and all the nuances around sales and they probably want to do business . Tyler Tapp 00:07:40 They know that sales is one of the most chaotic parts of what you do. Jim Schubert 00:07:43 Oh, yeah. And they probably don't even realize that they're doing it. But they have figured out what I've come to learn is the secret formula to being a highly influential storyteller because there's a lot of moving parts that go along with telling a highly influential story . It's not just well, let me kind of riff off of what I remember . There's some very specific things that need to go into a story that help them do that . Tyler Tapp 00:08 :15 That's where you came to it, right ? These are the top performing people you have around you. And so you're like, obviously they're doing something completely different than other people because you don't go from average to double the average without having some process you're doing or something you're doing completely differently . Jim Schubert 00:08 :33 No, absolutely not . And that's what I'm trying to teach through writing the book , is that exact secret formula . And then teaching people how to brainstorm , or what I call story storming stories , and creating a library and giving them resources to be able to use so that when they go out in the field , they've got a quiver of arrows that they can use to fire off some shots and actually land deals. Because storytelling does a lot of things , but it does three things really well. Right. It can demonstrate what's really going on, it can captivate , and it can help build deep relationships stories . Just like I was saying at the beginning , going to the movie theater , I'm sure everybody listening to this has experienced it to some degree . You watch a really good movie that hits you right here, whether it's a comedy or an adventure or Sci-Fi or whatever it is, it draws you in like nothing else, because if it's told well, there are certain elements that are present that are helping it do that . Tyler Tapp 00:09:45 That's awesome. Do you mind repeating those again just so everyone has that ? So no repetition on those three . Jim Schubert 00:09:50 Yes. So it demonstrates , especially if you're telling a story about a particular client of yours to help draw people in and say, hey, I can do the same thing for you, without actually saying that . It demonstrates your ability to do the thing that they want , right . To perform . Tyler Tapp 00:10:09 Demonstrate your ability to perform for them . Jim Schubert 00:10:11 Yeah. And it captivates them . It really holds them and puts them in a place of we talk about I remember from my junior year of high school and English class, I think it was, when I learned the term willful suspension of disbelief . Have you ever heard that ? Tyler Tapp 00:10:30 I haven't . Jim Schubert 00:10:31 Yeah. So the willful disbelief is when you willfully suspend your disbelief . So you're basically saying, I believe that there's a talking wooden boy named Pinocchio . I believe that this is possible . Tyler Tapp 00:10:48 Right. Jim Schubert 00:10:50 You're willfully suspending your natural disbelief , and you're basically allowing yourself to be captivated and taken away by that story . Tyler Tapp 00:11:00 I would almost just throw this in there . I would say you're shutting off your adult brain and going into your child brain . Yes. Because that child you were at the theater like, this is hilarious . I have a five year old and a three year old right now, and they're watching blippy is a huge one, if any. Blippy is the John North . They think Blippy is the most real person on the entire planet , and they want to go play with Blippy, right . Because he's real in their heads. Right. And I think as the older and older we get , we start to put that disbelief in our head, like, Nah, there's no way. Right? This isn't real. That's not real. There's no way. So I love that . I love that . Jim Schubert 00:11:34 Yeah, absolutely . And I forgot what I said the. Tyler Tapp 00:11:39 Third one was, but I think build relationships . Yeah. Jim Schubert 00:11:41 To build relationships , which is so key. If you can tell a story effectively , that's how you build a connection with someone . When you walk out of that theater or you finish that book , that really captivating book , you feel connected to the characters . Tyler Tapp 00:11:59 Right. Jim Schubert 00:11:59 You think about yourself as the character , and that's what most people do. And what a lot of people , especially salespeople , get wrong is that they think that they, the salespeople , are the hero, but they're not . It's always the audience that is the hero of the story . They're thinking about themselves as the hero. They're imagining . Right when I walk around , you have music playing in your head right when you walk around . Tyler always right . That's the soundtrack to your life. You are the hero. You are the hero. And salespeople need to remember that . But all this helps to bring a lot more order out of what can be a very chaotic , fumbling kind of process , which is sales. And I'm just super excited to finish the book and get it out . I think I've got about five, 6000 words left to write to get out what I really want to get out . So it's been a process itself that's . Tyler Tapp 00:13:00 Awesome in the process of writing the book . What of those points inside of the book do you feel like has been more clarified for you in writing it? Because I know getting it in the paper makes like way more clarification . Jim Schubert 00:13:16 Yeah, that's a really good point and I'm actually trying to visualize the exact chapter where I talked about it, but I can't pull it out of my head right now. But I would say that what I was writing about this morning was actually quite cathartic in a sense. And that is the way that you can capture or really recapture stories from your own life. And I'm talking hundreds of stories , not just a few, but to be able to use those quivers when you're out in the field , to be able to fire off and use in any given scenario that you find yourself in and just realizing how amazing the human brain is to be able to retain stories and information . I'll give you an example . It was funny that you asked this because this morning I was looking at my calendar and I saw that on Saturday my son is doing my 17 year old, he's doing some volunteer work with an organization that he volunteers . And I noticed that the address was something like Millbrook Close or Millbrook Street or something . And it instantly triggered and it wasn't the same street because it was a different town , but it instantly triggered the very house, the very first house that I lived in until I was five. And I'm 45 now, so that was over 40 years ago, was on Millbrook Trace. And before I even knew what I was doing , I was going into Google and typing in Millbrook Trace so I could find that house. And you know why? I had not seen that house in over 40 years. But I visualized it up here for so long and there are stories that I have in here that I remember playing out in my childhood and I so desperately it was such a powerful emotion . Once I saw the name of that street , I Googled it, I found it and I just stood there . I sat there at my desk this morning and don't tell my employees , but I was literally just looking at the Google Street view of that house for like five minutes or so, just thinking , just remembering all the stories . But it's amazing how many stories are up here. And there is a process for releasing those because we do compartmentalize things and there's a lot of things that even when I started looking at that house, I remembered all these different stories that I had forgotten for all these years. Tyler Tapp 00:15:56 Yeah, pretty awesome. I think if there's a relatable story for every one of us, most of us moved multiple times in our life, right ? That house, that was like the house that we remember . If we forget about it, because you do, you really just kind of like, leave it in the background unless something brings it up. But when something brings it up, it is like a massive tidal wave of remembrance . That's awesome to follow that up. I was thinking while you were saying that , how do we pull the right arrows out of our stories and put them in the quiver of stories to use? Jim Schubert 00:16:28 Yeah, that's a great question . So I actually have a spreadsheet that people can go download that's part of not a larger, but it's just like a quick little thing that you can download that will help you, number one, understand how to tell good stories , give you a real brief overview , and then give you kind of the bones and the spreadsheet of how to do this . You can go to agentsgrowthacademy .com stories or storytelling . I can't remember . I'll have to make sure that I point both of those there . But, yeah, I've created a spreadsheet , and I mean, I have to give credit where credit's due, right ? I read a fantastic book by Kendra Hall about storytelling , and she gave me a lot of groundwork in helping to tell insurance agents and those in the sales world how to be better storytellers . I took it in a slightly different direction than she did, but one exercise that she gave was about literally brainstorming these different stories . So one thing that I would recommend , create a spreadsheet . And in the top column , just write the word Muse, M-U-S-E someone or something that inspires you. And then at the bottom , you'll just create several different tabs . One of them is going to be labeled people . One of them will be labeled . Places, things , events firsts clients . I think those are the six tabs that I've got and basically go through each one of those tabs and under the Muse column , you've got to take some time . And I did this for the first time . I did this on an airplane . So I was literally trapped , right ? And I had my headphones on. I had some good non lyrical when I'm really thinking I play piano music or something that doesn't have lyrics to it. And I was just quiet , and I was in one spot . And I just thought about all the people in my life that I have ever known , from my spouse to my kids to my parents , all the way to the guy we called Scratch Off Mike, who used to sit on our doorstep of my apartment in Boston when I was in school scratching off lottery tickets . Tyler Tapp 00:19:04 We all know that guy, right ? Jim Schubert 00:19:06 Yeah. So it really helps you just storytorm , because don't let yourself get so consumed in the stories at that moment . Just list the people , then go list the things , then the places and so on and so forth . And before you know it, you literally will have hundreds of seeds from which you can then go back and have some other columns for stories , maybe one for lessons that you learn from the stories . And you might have certainly think about it. Like my wife , I would have to have a whole separate spreadsheet just for her because there's so many different stories . But even Scratch Off Mike, I could think about three or four different stories , right ? Tyler Tapp 00:19:51 Yeah. Jim Schubert 00:19:52 And there's different lessons . And here's a lesson in that one, just to give you an example . For the longest time , for the first two years of me living in an apartment , I actually thought he was homeless . Turns out he was in a halfway house from just up the street , and he was trying to get himself better , but he still had a gambling addiction and he would sit there on the steps every day. But the lesson for me was don't judge a book by its cover. And once I learned that , I started engaging with him a little bit more and giving him a little bit more grace . Not that I was mean to him. Tyler Tapp 00:20:24 Right, but your paradigm shifted a little bit . Jim Schubert 00:20:27 Yeah. Had a whole different understanding of who he might be and the struggles he was going through . Tyler Tapp 00:20:34 I love what you're saying with that because I feel like I like that exercise that you ran us through . And I'm definitely going to have to go do that myself because I'm not a great storyteller . I'm really good at confusing people when I tell stories . It's the skills that I've gained over the years that's something I really want to get better at. But I like that exercise because I look , in my life, I've had a pretty boring life, obviously . I've had lots of things . But we all view our star lives as a boring life, right ? In a sense, no matter who you are, unless you're like a celebrity from the time you're a tiny kid. But I love that exercise because it's not saying, hey, you need to go think of the story . Right? It's like, just start with the people . Just put down people places , because those people are like you're with your house. It's like someone just said a name and you're like, I remember all the stories involved with that house. Right. And you start connecting the dots into just spider webs from there . I really like that exercise . That's awesome. So go do whatever . Yeah. That's great . Jim, I think I love what you've given everybody . I'd like to just wrap her up here with a couple of final questions for you. Sure. If this episode were to get , like, completely obliterated the rest of the episode , and you had, like, one thing that you had to tell everybody , and this is like Jim Schubertt's thing to tell the world today, what would that be? Jim Schubert 00:21:53 You have stories in you that are worth sharing and really need to be shared . And I'll tell you why. Because in doing so, I truly believe that storytelling is one of the most powerful and effective forms of communication . Think about it. It's been around for thousands of years. We were doing it. Tyler Tapp 00:22:17 So the only thing we have left . Jim Schubert 00:22:19 Yeah, exactly . Yeah. I mean, cave walls, on scrolls , papyrus . Right. These stories are so critical . And I'll tell you another reason why I think it's such a big deal for you to share your own stories is because in today's society , you think about how many distractions all of us have. All of us, every single one of us, and trying to turn off our phones and stuff like this . It's hard, right . You will be forgotten to a certain degree . I'm just going to be straight with you. You'll be forgotten , Tyler, unless you learn to share your own stories , because it's the stories that draw people in and help them remember you. Right. Tyler Tapp 00:23:06 Yeah. I love that . I just put a story to that . So my brother Josh, who Jim is really good friends with , and I'm also good friends with in a business with , the one thing I've watched him do over the years that I've loved and loved, love, loved, is he has gotten way better at sharing his story and realizing what his story was. And I feel like he's become way more remembered because of that . Because when someone says the name Josh Tap, they have his story attached to that . Right. I love that . I think that's great . If we were to mic drop for the day, find your story , don't get forgotten . Jim Schubert 00:23:42 Yeah, absolutely . Tyler Tapp 00:23:43 I love that . So, Jim, anything else you want to share with everyone today before we part ways? Jim Schubert 00:23:51 I just say be open. If you are going to go through some of the exercises that I talk to, just be open and be patient with yourself . Don't try to limit your mind when you're trying to find or rediscover some of these stories , because you can really get lost in the weeds . As I said, I stared at that image of the house that I grew up in for the first few years of my life just thinking about all these stories , and I could have easily just kind of, like, turned it off and said, whatever , but I have a plan this weekend to go drive over there . I want to see it. It's been 40 plus years, and I'm dying to see that house just in person . Tyler Tapp 00:24:33 How far away is it from you? Jim Schubert 00:24:34 I think it's only like, half an hour from here, so it's not far. I actually was thinking about calling my parents and asking if they want to come with me, because I bet they haven't seen it in just that long. Tyler Tapp 00:24:46 Yeah, that's wild . Especially for only being that far away. I think you would have seen it, but yeah, that's awesome. Yeah. Jim Schubert 00:24:51 Okay. Tyler Tapp 00:24:52 Well, Jim, I appreciate you coming on today. I've loved loved everything you've shared . I think for me, that storytelling is such a big thing that it's been kind of floating around again as a buzzword out in the community . But pay attention to those . If everyone in the world , especially in the business world , I'm favorite in that way, but if everyone in the business world is talking about something like that , it matters . Right? I love that you've shared that with everybody . So, Jim, aside from going and checking out your podcast and your websites that will link into things or anywhere you want everyone to connect with you yeah. Jim Schubert 00:25:25 The biggest place that I'm on consistently is LinkedIn . I try to be better about Facebook , but , man, I just get sucked in too much . So I love having genuine conversations , business or otherwise , on LinkedIn . So find me on LinkedIn . Tyler Tapp 00:25:41 That's awesome. Well, guys , definitely go look up Jim. He's got stories to tell. We've known him for a long time . His podcast is full of them . So go check , like, Jim out . Talk to him on LinkedIn . He is one of the most open people I've ever met. Personally, I'd say if I were to put him as, I feel like he's an uncle of mine. So go talk to your favorite uncle . Jim Schubert 00:25:59 Jim making me feel old now, man. Tyler Tapp 00:26:02 You're only a few years older than me. I just looked .
Founder, Podcast Host, Photographer
Jim Schubert is the CEO of Southern States Insurance, one of Georgia's largest independent insurance agencies. He is a nationally recognized author, podcast host and guest contributor appearing in Insurance Journal, Independent Agent Magazine, Agency Nation, Insurance Business America Magazine, Best's Review and Applied Systems.
Jim is a passionate advocate for small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent insurance agents. He loves sharing ideas about agency growth, digital marketing, and the lost art of human interaction.
Jim is also the creator of Agents Growth Academy, an online resource for insurance agents and agency owners who want to take their growth to the next level. And when he needs to take a clarity break, he is either behind a camera lens in the great outdoors or teaching aspiring shutterbugs how to take beautiful nature photography at Schubert Photography.
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